Resolving Storms
: masculine relationships in Shakespeare’s The Tempest and its post-colonial adaptations

  • Marion Todd

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Shakespeare’s The Tempest has become widely known for its post-colonial reworkings that discuss the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized. Whilst this paper cannot hope to compete with the range of material already in existence on this topic, it does attempt to add a different facet by taking an intersectional view and discussing how the depiction of colonialism in the play provides an opportunity to evaluate its effects on ideas of manliness both in the seventeenth century, and in contemporary settings thanks to its continued readaption. Influenced by the writings of Headlams Wells, Solomon, and Bridges and Pascoe (to name only a small selection of the authors’ referenced in this work), this paper considers the importance of acts of collaboration in assisting masculinity to become less entrenched in ideals derived from mythology and perceptions of fatherhood, with particular attention to the importance of female influence. Starting with a review of past and present scholarship, the paper goes on to compare and contrast the relationships in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, George Lamming’s Water With Berries, and Margaret Atwood’s Hagseed to assess how the
dependency narrative shifts the power dynamic when the central father figure is challenged, what prohibits the remaking of masculinity, and how manhood can be remade. The outcome of the paper suggests that by acknowledging that collaboration breeds opportunities for masculinity to develop into a more accommodating and flexible hybrid identity, masculinity demonstrates a desire to evolve but retains the ability to dominate and place others in perpetual opposition in order to maintain its own meanings. Despite attempts to move past its own self-imposed need for competition, masculinity hampers its own evolution.
Date of Award23 Feb 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorTodd Borlik (Main Supervisor) & Merrick Burrow (Co-Supervisor)

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